Mayor: climate change declaration unimportant

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher has questioned the need for a local government declaration on climate change.

Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie made headlines yesterday by saying the push to sign the Local Government Leaders' Climate Change Declaration was ''politically charged and driven''.

Mr Kircher agreed with her.

''It's only a piece of paper. It doesn't actually achieve anything. Actually getting on and dealing with it does - that's what we're doing,'' Mr Kircher said.

''It's an important topic, but the paper, not so much.

''You're signing something that is potentially creating liabilities that we don't know how big they are. What we're doing is getting on and dealing with it ourselves.''

Mr Kircher was one of nine South Island mayors who did not sign the 2017 declaration on behalf of his council: Timaru, Waimate, Mackenzie and Westland were among the hold-outs.

The Waitaki District Council was addressing climate change in its assets management plans and in its district plan review, Mr Kircher said.

Climate change was addressed in the Waitaki council's 2018-48 30-year infrastructure strategy, in which water quality and roading resilience were identified as key issues.

The declaration states the signatories recognise an ''urgent need to address climate change for the benefit of current and future generations''.

It calls for an ''ambitious transition plan'' to a low carbon economy, and ''a holistic economic assessment ... of New Zealand's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and of the opportunities and benefits for responding''.

Councils commit to promoting walking, cycling, and public transport in the declaration, as well as the uptake of electric vehicles.

Councils also commit to working with the government to deliver on national emission reduction targets.

RNZ reported Mrs Goudie refused to confirm whether she believed climate change was happening.

Mr Kircher did not answer the same question directly yesterday.

''Climate change has always happened, we've always had coastal erosion, but we're definitely having - the past decade - we've definitely had a lot more regular rain events than what we used to,'' he said.

''As she [Mrs Goudie] said, it's a politically charged environment; if you say something, someone will take absolutely something else out of that.''

The Waitaki council had not discussed signing the declaration but would ''at some stage'' after a councillor, who had not been aware of the declaration ''until now'', requested doing so.

Local Government New Zealand president Dave Cull, of Dunedin, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Queenstown Lakes District Council was missed off the list in an administrative error, which was corrected yesterday.


What heretics, the pair of them. They must pledge their allegiance to the cause or their commitment to saving the planet from peoples greed and slothfulness via tax and inconvenience, as written in the grand plan, can not be counted on.
Shame them. Shame, shame, shame.